Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (née Sarup Kumari Nehru)(1900-1990), Indian Ambassador to the United States and President of the United Nations General Assembly
Sitter in 16 portraits
Born in Allahabad, India, the sister of Jawaharlal Nehru. Like her brother, she was imprisoned for activism during India's struggle for independence. She became the first woman to hold a cabinet position in pre-Independence India (1937). She was the leader of the All Indian Women's Conference (1941-1943). Widowed after her barrister husband Ranjit Sitaram Pandit died in jail after being arrested for Independence activism. She brought up her children independently because of discriminatory Indian laws dictated that women were not entitled to any inheritance. During her political career she was Indian ambassador in Moscow, Washington and Mexico, the leader of the Indian UN delegation (1946-8, 1952-3), the first woman president of the UN General Assembly (1953) and Indian High Commissioner to London (1954-56). She became the Indian representative to the UN Human Rights Commission in 1978.